Thursday, 29 September 2011

American Values, China and Singapore


Gary Locke is the first Chinese-American US ambassador to China. Since taking up his appointment in Beijing, he has become a minor celebrity in China.   In his first public press meeting, he stressed on his belief in American values:

"On a personal level, I am both humbled and honored to stand here before you as a child of Chinese immigrants representing the US, the land of my birth, and the American values my family holds dear."

What are American values?

There are different meanings and explanations on American values. In Gary words, during his inaugural address as Governor of Washington State in 15 January 1997, these are:  

“For the Locke family, that incident helped establish a deep faith in the essential goodness of mainstream American values:

- The values that reject extremism and division, and embrace fairness and moral progress;

- The value of working together as a community; and

- The values of hard work, hope, enterprise and opportunity.”

And so, Gary Locke wants to share his American values with the Chinese people and perhaps, to promote American values in China.
                                                         
Minor celebrity creating a buzz

Here are 2 reports about Gary Locke in China.

Gary Locke has become a minor celebrity in China for his modest, unassuming lifestyle, drawing the apparent ire of state-run outlets.

Former US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has been creating a buzz in China since he arrived last month to take up his new role as US Ambassador. He is the first Chinese-American ever to fill that position, and curiosity about him is running high.

Last month, a Chinese tourist posted online a photo he took of Locke sporting a small backpack and buying his own coffee at the Seattle airport Starbucks. That photo launched endless online comments in China – surprise, admiration, because Chinese officials would have legions of flunkies to do this kind of thing for them, jokes that America must really be short of money if the US Ambassador has to fend for himself.

Chinese officials and media may have different opinions on Gary but the Chinese social media has all the positive remarks and comments on Gary.

Gary Locke and David Adelman

Divide Adelman, is the American ambassador to Singapore, who came here last year.  He caused a flap when Senator Jim Webb asked him whether he intended to engage Singapore on the issues of democracy and press freedom.

"Make no mistake, currently Singapore is not a multiparty democracy, and I intend, if confirmed, to use public diplomacy to work towards greater press freedoms, greater freedom of assembly and ultimately more political space for opposition parties in Singapore to strengthen Singapore into a multiparty democracy," he replied at his nomination hearing in February, reports the Straits Times.

Now, the Singapore newspaper adds, Adelman has clarified that Singapore's domestic politics is for Singaporeans to decide.

(Adelman, who had served as an Assistant Attorney General in Georgia and taught political science at the University of Georgia, also praised Singapore at his nomination hearing. He praised Singapore for its commitment to free trade and helping in Afghanistan and Haiti and guarding against piracy.

"At the top of my agenda will be promoting commerce and trade between the U.S. and Singapore," Adelman said after being confirmed in his post by the US Senate.

Apparently, Gary is promoting American values and Adelman is promoting commerce and trade.  So, Adelman must have an easy time in Singapore as values, being intangible, are difficult to promote than trade and commerce. It is especially difficult to promote American culture in China which has more than 5,000 years of civilization.

Big loud thunder with little rain

Comparing Adelman and Gary, both US ambassadors are so different.  One seems to be more humble than other. One seems to know how to use ‘public diplomacy’ more effectively.

Gary never promised anything but Adelman seemed to suggest during the confirmation hearing, he wanted to bring or promote American values in Singapore, in a ‘public diplomacy’ way.

This is what we called 雷声大雨点小. The thunder is making a big bang but when the rain comes, it is very small. HoweverGary started humbly before going to China but makes a great impact to Chinese people, perhaps a big shock too to the Chinese leaders.

I think we can expect very little from the US ambassador to Singapore. If we are expecting changes, hope to see changes in Singapore political developments, want to make the PAP listening to the people, we have to work it out ourselves.

At the end of the day, the Americans and the west are only interested to make money in Singapore. Singapore is a very comfortable hotel to them, even more comfortable than their home towns.

But can Singapore continue to be a one-party democracy? Will a one-party democracy more stable than a multiparty democracy? May be there is a double standard when comes to money politics?

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

不要把内安法当成一门生意来做




从所周知,行动党是把新加坡当成一门生意来经营的。因此,在内安法的废除问题上,行动党也是采取这个态度,它没有说不废除,只是说现在还不是时候,仍然有存在的价值,我国仍然需要内安法这张纸老虎。

对行动党政府来说内安法是无奈,不得已,同时也是鸡肋。的确如此,行动党知道内安法已经靠不住了,但是,有一张纸老虎皮,随时要穿上吓吓人民,还是有一定用处的。只要它是一个法令,政府就可以灵活的诠释,利用内安法来维护本身的利益。这当然包括打击对手,妨碍反对党的势力增长。

行动党仍然是庄家,垄断市场

况且,现在,行动党仍然是庄家,发牌,出招,占有国会的绝对优势,做起事来还是很方便。并且,一直在嘴上说它在全国有60%的支持票,仍然是大多数人的选择。所以,对于一个习惯垄断生意的人,一时之间,要想叫他接受竞争,挑战,改变生意手法,不是一件这么容易的事。要想告诉消费者,垄断是不好的,垄断会抬高物价,一般消费者一时之间,还不能明白过来。况且,一般消费者,没有身受其害,还认为垄断是应该的。

因此,行动党才认为在五月大选中输掉一个集选区,不是个灾难,同时,也不必为此而讨好人民。这也意味着,在行动党的治理下,新加坡接下来将不会出现一个一味迎合民众要求的民粹主义政府。


市场力量,人民力量

但是,任何的机关算尽了,任何的垄断手法用尽了,到头来,吃亏还是自己。在生意场上,在股市,不是有一种力量叫着‘市场力量’吗?不然,政府投资公司,淡马锡控股怎么会把国库储备输掉,连账目也不让你看清楚呢?

既然在国际市场上,吃了亏,知道市场力量的威力,没有像新加坡一样的垄断条件,行动党政府就无能为力,国外的投资,真是无奈,不得已,又是鸡肋,看着UBS, Citibank, 还有好多的海外投资,不知何时回本。现在,只能说这是长期投资了。

虽然如此,在国外斗不过人,不要紧,只要在国内利用垄断地位,稳住外汇储备,依然还是可以利用人民的钱,再战国际市场。反正,内有内安法压阵,一时之间,也没有人敢跨越内安法一步,以身犯法。所以,这在算盘中,叫做‘买时间’,慢慢来,不得已的时候,再来废除内安法不迟。

时机未到,无需紧张

内安法的废除时机,在行动党的算盘里,现在还不是废除的时候。反正,在国际上,也没有人,尤其是我们的西方盟友,不会对新加坡是否会废除内安法大做文章。在国内,内安法这个法令还在,一般市民,已经习惯了,也不会起哄,而强烈要求废除内安法。

目前看来,内安法这笔生意,在行动党手中仍然是一门垄断性的生意。既然,垄断的生意这么好赚,为何要轻易放弃呢?能够赚多久就赚多久。反正马来西亚废除内安法,好处和坏处还看不到,说不定赔了夫人又折兵。不但内安法白白废了,国阵自己在选举中又得不到好处。

而且,现在离开下一届大选还有五年,这个时候出牌废除内安法,收到的效果,肯定不是很好。为何,不像往年一样,在选前大派红包,废除内安法在五年后也可以当成一个红包,送给人民,搞一个民主形象,那么,这个算盘,不是打得更响吗?

但是,世界上有永远的垄断吗?这个如意算盘永远都会在行动党手中吗?尤其是,行动党的所谓人才,将来的接班人,第四代领袖,能够继续垄断下去吗?他们能够继续利用旧方法,来垄断新加坡的政治吗?

机关算尽了,最后还是要输。政府投资公司,淡马锡控股的顶尖人才,你能说他们不会算吗?他们算到这样准,但是,怎样也敌不过市场力量,最后,还不是要被海外的市场力量所打败吗?回到国内,随着垄断地位的渐渐消失,人民力量的渐渐壮大,有一天,行动党也会被人民力量所吞没。

人算不如天算,行动党的命运,内安法的废除时间,只是时间未到,不是不到。耐心一点,不要操之过急,说不准,行动党比你还要急,只是苦在心里口难开。

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Foreign Talents As Singapore Chinese Elites



Soon, we will have to import foreign talents as our Chinese elites as we are unable to train and educate the critical mass of such people.  This is not the worry of the Chinese community and educated persons in Singapore, but also the government.   

It is quite obvious that the Ministry of Education will not be able to produce enough Chinese elites for the future need of Singapore or the kind of bilingual elites that the PAP is looking for.  These so-called Chinese elites are in short supply and no matter how we try to promote the use of Chinese language, we will never be able to produce the critical base of local Chinese elites in Singapore.  

Even though Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat said all political appointment holders at MOE are looking after the bilingualism but it is very clear that we have lost the cultural DNA to produce elites in Chinese as well as in India and Malay. 

The Minister said “All of us (political appointment holders) will continue to pay due attention to the teaching and learning of the English Language and our Mother Tongue Languages” in his first major policy address to school heads at his ministry's annual workplan seminar last week.

Few will expect current education policy and language environment will turn out enough numbers of local Chinese elites in Singapore, a worry since the closing down of Chinese schools in the 1980s.

Everything can be imported? Even Chinese elites                                                        

As usual, the government way of solving problems is if there is no enough, we import them, likes the changes in immigration policy to make up the low birth rate, and the adjustments in the foreign workers policy to meet the demand of manpower need. Soon, we will have to do it at a large scale by importing Chinese elites.

In fact, we have already been doing so in the past 10 or 20 years. For many years, we have been importing Malaysian Chinese, especially those graduated from Chinese independent schools.  These schools are like our old Chinese schools in Singapore and students there study Chinese as their first language.

The term “Chinese elites” may not be appropriate as to make up the critical mass, we also need other non Chinese elites or less intelligent people but with Chinese proficiency to come out with the required size of numbers for our economic needs.

Hence, like the foreign talents and workers policy, we will need to import skilled and unskilled Chinese elites and people from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong as well as the traditional source, Malaysia. 

Will there be a future without a root?

The theme of this year’s Work Plan Seminar is “Our Children. Our Purpose. Our Future.”  If MOE and the government really concern about the future of our children and the purpose of education, then they should re-look and re-focus the basis, especially MOE wants to emphasize on value and character building and development of our children.

Singapore is an Asian society.  Unless we think we can totally immerse into a western society with their value system and personal behaviours, otherwise, we better try to keep our root as what former PM Lee Kuan Yew have suggested during the launch of his Chinese version of “Hard Truths”.  The best way to do this is to have a better understanding of Mother Tongue.

Japan has wanted to be a western country since she adopted western system of government, science and technology and administration.  However, until today, it is still not a western country culturally. Perhaps, Singapore can out do Japan as we are willing to give up our language and culture.     

The PAP always wants to stress that Singapore is an Asian society so that we do not have to follow the democratic practices in the West. They use this as an excuse to be different from the West. But don’t they realise that we are also different in culture and value system?  Without the support of the Asian root, culture and value, Singapore will as normal as a white banana.   

Why the worry?

This is because the importance of MT is declining.  There are too many incidents that Chinese signboards are missing at our pubic transport system, even the airports. If you read Zaobao, these are the frequent complaints in the forum pages. Not to mention, our children proudly claim that ‘I hate Chinese or MT.’

All four presidential candidates did not communicate well in Chinese is another setback for Chinese learning in Singapore.  In future, it will be very hard for Singapore to have a President who can speak and understand Chinese like Ong Teng Cheong.

In fact, the local Chinese speaking community is declining too. Readers of Chinese newspapers have a sizable numbers of non local Chinese. Even though the circulation of Chinese press does not decline, this does not mean that there is more local reading the Chinese papers.  It is mainly because the loss of readership is made up by Chinese readers from China.   

Few years ago, the newly appointed President of Nanyang Technological University has an ambition plan to drop the word “Technological” from NTU. It wants to date back the university to 1955, the founding year of the old Nanyang University.  You can date your history back to whatever date you like. However, you can’t bring back the value and the cultural DNA. Anyway, the change of name is not successful.

For the case of Chinese elites in Singapore, it will also like the fate of the old Nanyang University, a history to remember.  Can you import Nantah spirit? Can you import Chinese elites?  Can value and culture be so cheaply imported?  

Sunday, 25 September 2011

学生为本,价值导向,是不是把教育程度提升到文化程度?




我国教育部又有新计划了。这回是希望在未来20年把重点放在品格教育,以价值为导向,培养有价值观有竞争力的新一代国人。不知道这样做的目的是否是把我国的纯教学的教育,提升为含有价值意义上的文化教育。而把教育变为一种文化程度上的提升。


这真的不容易做到。在中国,当一个人在申请工作时,在填写文化程度时,其实,就是填写教育程度,学历的多少。为何不用教育程度而用文化程度呢?或许,在中国,还保留着古代的一些风气,一个人受教育的程度,也反映了他的文化程度。尤其是古代,一个人的文笔,字体,也显现出他的为人,他的价值观,和人生态度。


虽然,不支持复古。但是,教育的目的如果只是停留在教育上,而没有一点涵养,价值,文化的提升,不论在中国还是新加坡,这都不可以说是成功的教育,最多,也不过是读书识字,学习工作知识而已,对人类,对世界未必做出巨大贡献。


如果,新加坡能够在方面有所突破,做到真正意义上的文化程度的提升,而不只是在教育程度上的提升,排名上的提升,分数上的满分,而是孩子教育价值上的提升,那可真的说得上是功德无量,造福人群,为世界树立典范。将来中国说不定不是派人来学习管理经济,而是学习如何提升价值教育,尤其是那些不争气的富二代,官二代,星二代们,更是他们学习和留学对象。


何谓价值导向和其内容


早报在报道教育部长王瑞杰在教育工作蓝图大会上陈述我国教育未来的方向时说,新加坡的未来教育将以以学生为本,价值为导向为发展重点。这个理念,是用来武装新一代,让他们迎战未来。


所谓价值,包括自我价值道义价值公民职责价值。自我价值给予学生自信心和自我意识,培养他们坚忍不拔的意志力;道义价值培养学生在多元种族、多元文化的社会,尊重、负责、关怀和赏识他人;公民职责价值则培养学生成为坚强、有毅力、有知识、有见闻,国家有难,能奋起捍卫祖国的好公民。


因此,这个价值是指三个方面:个人,道义和公民职责。


过去的教育是经济教育?


王瑞杰在提出价值导向的教育指导方针时,也花了很长时间解释我国过去的教育变革。他指出,新加坡教育导向一直随时代要求更新。从1959年起的生存导向,到1979年以后的效率导向,再到1997年以后的能力导向。正确的导向使我国教育达到高水平境地,备受国际赞誉。


从生存导向,到效率导向,再到能力导向。的确没有价值导向,文化的提升。而之前的三个导向,是不是有着更多的经济味道。新加坡的生存,本来就是经济生存,我们是以经济建国的。效率和能力,就更不用多说,只有效率才是才能赚更多的钱,只有吸引到最好的人才,最有能力的人,新加坡才能维持竞争力。因此,当我们备受国际赞誉,或多或少,都跟经济的成功有关系。


但是,效率和能力的导向,造成只顾生产力,竞争力,经济成长率。虽然国家取得了经济成绩,但是却造成贫富不均,跟不上的不幸群体,没有享受到国家成长的结果,反而生活更加困难。这个成长的代价是不是在国家发展的过程中,没有纳入价值的导向。这不只是教育的问题,更是治国的问题,一个没有考虑价值的发展,只是一个短期的发展,部分人士得利的发展,无法走得更远,更长。


所以,早报报道说,为了从能力导向转往价值导向,教育部将设立品格与公民教育组,全面规划学生的品格教育课程,检讨课程发展活动评分架构。教育部也会修正行之有年的卓越学校模式奖励计划总蓝图,回归以学生为本,发展全人教育的目标,减轻教师行政工作量,以及重新界定好学校的定义。


教育要正心,治国更要有爱心


因此,教育部要正孩子之心,加之以价值观念,注重品格的发展,人格的培养。这真的是一个很艰难,很伟大的工作,工程。同时,好学校,好学生,也不是样样第一,就是好。最好的学校,最好的老师,教出最好的学生,不是好学校好老师。不好的学校,不好的老师,教出好学生才是最有价值的教育。


教育部已经有了计划,政府在治国上,是否会跟进,在接受批评时,在处理民情上,是否也会考量以价值为导向,以良心,爱心来管理国家,保护储备,公平对待国人。


因此,行动党政府的治国,要以国人为本,价值为导向,才能造福国人。

Friday, 23 September 2011

Singapore Inc Is Built To Last or Built To Make Profit?



The ultimate creation of the first generation leaders of the PAP to Singapore is Singapore Inc. It is not about the economic growth, housing development, jobs and other achievements that the current PAP government keeps on reminding the people.

Singapore Inc is built to last first and then built to make profit.  If we are to be built to make profit, then a colony status or a semi-independent status like Hong Kong with a big brother protection may be a better solution.

Another myth of Singapore Inc under the PAP government is the need to have great and charismatic leader. This is why they keep on stressing the A team. There is only one team of top class leaders is available in Singapore and this team is from the PAP.

Guarding and destroying

This great leader theory has been implanted and practiced in our business and commerce, especially in the government linked companies. The recent appointment of Wong Kan Seng and Dr Lee Boon Yang as the chairman of Singbridge and SPH respectively is a clear example.

This kind of practice is to guard the GLCs and prevent them to make creative moves.  It is to keep their operations in line with the Temasek and government polices that are engineered by the PAP. 

There are many similar appointments with ex-ministers, retired civil servants, former military and police personnel at GLCs inside and outside of Singapore.  These appointed chairmen or presidents are just blindly guarding and following the PAP’s instruction but not the Singapore Inc’s – the wishes of the people.

GLCs are not only controlling our economy. In addition, it has discouraged the development of entrepreneurship in Singapore.  These GLC enterprises have co-operated with each others to prevent competitions. Look at the telecommunication sector, the transport sector, etc; one will see the true picture.  And we should question their existence is for the people or the PAP.

Singapore Inc is an ultimate creation and within it, there is a part called GLCs and the PAP.  However, they are not only obstacles to the growth of the country, but also act as destroyers to creative ideas and alternative suggestions.

The PAP is OR but Singapore Inc is AND

OR: You are either following the PAP or against the state.   The PAP always projects a wrong OR thinking in Singapore.  If you oppose the government’s policies, you are wrong. If you go against the policies, you are trying to create troubles and you are against the law.

If you want to have high growth, you need to increase the immigrants.

If you are a female and want to have a PhD, you will end with no family.

If you want to vote for an opposition, you will be served last.

If there are two A teams, the country can not compete with other countries.  So, we can only have one strong A team.

The OR is dividing Singapore as a country and we should consider the AND under the Singapore Inc.

AND - Both the PAP and the oppositions are present under the Singapore Inc.  Each has their role and makes contribution to Singapore Inc and the people. 

If you want to have checks and balances, you need to have a strong and effective opposition in the parliament.

If the government is listening and wants to have the real feedback, it must treat the people with equal no matter they are oppose or support the PAP.

If you want diversity, you should not allow the government institutions to be used only by the PAP.
The resources must be shared by different camps and people.

The AND is uniting the people and will build a strong Singapore Inc.

First-rate intelligence with two opposed ideas

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” – F. Scott Fitzgerad.

May be the PAP is not able to produce the first-rate intelligent leaders with two opposed ideas.  However, Singapore Inc is a larger identity than the PAP.  It is able to have two opposed ideas and is still able to function effectively.

Or, perhaps, the day will come when the opposite camp is able to produce first-rate leaders who are able to handle difficult questions and opposed ideas from the PAP as well as governing Singapore effectively.

This is the hope and aim of Singapore Inc. 

Thursday, 22 September 2011

大学扩招的教育正心意义 无奈还是不得已



不论大学扩招学生是通过政府还是私人来进行,大学教育的意义已经很不一样了。大学就犹如高等教育训练所,政府除了害怕出钱外,更担心学生的出路问题,素质问题,根本没有考虑教育的基本意义是要培养一个人如何做人。

日前,教育部设立了一个委员会,探讨2015年后的新加坡大学教育的去向。 因此,新加坡的大学教育是否有必要进一步扩大,招收更多本地学生,最近成了一个课题。不过,不久前,维基解密透露新加坡政府其实并不打算扩招,来扩大新加坡的大学生人数和提高大学生占人口的比例。因此,将来是否有更多本地学生能够入读本地大学,现在还言之过早。

家长和政府的无奈,不得已      

家长当然有其无奈和不得已。不是每个家庭的孩子,起跑点都是一样的。资质也不一样。要想每个孩子都进大学,的确是不可能的事。更何况,有些孩子,根本无心向学,想着如何找工作。即使,可以进大学,也未必进得了本身喜欢的院系。家庭好的,富裕的,还可以送孩子到国外去留学。没有这个条件的家庭,就只有选择不得已留在国内,无奈的看着别人远去留学。

政府当然也有无奈和不得已。从财政的角度来看,大学生越多,政府投入大学教育的开支也就会更多。同时,大学生人数增加了,国家,社会是否能够提供相对的就业机会,也是一个问题。不是说,要增加大学学额,就增加这么简单。还有,毕业生的素质问题也是一个考虑因素。

私校大学教育在新加坡其实已经很普通了。不知道,委员会要探讨的是那一方面的私人大学教育,是否津贴新加坡公民入读私人大学,减轻家长的负担。或者,承认私人大学的资格。因为,这不只是财政的问题,也跟毕业生的素质,能否配合国情培养所需要的人才有关了,也直接影响毕业生的就业前途。

政府的无奈和不得已的原因,看起来都没有错。在欧美,日本等国家,不论是公立还是私立大学,大学生失业,素质参差不齐,的确是问题,但是,以此来否定国人接受大学教育是否合理,尤其是从普及教育,提升国人的教育水平,和让下层弱势群体有机会提升来看,这些因素都必须认真考虑,作为大学扩招的原因。

对于一些家庭来说,在起跑点上已经落后于人,现在,连大学作为一个终点站,也没有机会,是否公平,这会不会进一步加深我国的贫富差距,让强势群体,更加占了上风。对于在起跑上已经落后的家庭,难道就此再落后下去吗?

为钱途而教育

而且,这个立论,往往以大学生的钱途,而非国人素质的提升为前提。财政,就业,素质,不就是跟钱有关吗?再加上政府一直强调的优生学,家庭背景影响学生素质,‘三分学习,七分天生’的指引下,指导下,我国未来的大学教育的扩招,要想有所突破,不是一件容易的事。

教育的真正目的是什么?我们是否已经把教育当成是制造饭碗的机器。毕业生的前途,也就是他们的钱途。

不然,为何要设立新加坡管理大学?一间专门教导管理,经济,资讯等的商学院那样的大学。好多年后,才考虑成立新加坡设计科技大学。政府当然是认为,赚钱的东西要先来,不挣钱的医学院,设计科技大学慢一些来。

事实上,在我国,在公立和私校学习管理经济方面的大学生,已占全部大学生总数的三分之一强。政府的担心的确有其原因,这么多学生毕业后,能否找到适合的工作,已经是一个问题了。甚至连理工学院,管理科目已经是一个大学科,大院系,每所理工学院都有,而且,收生条件也很严格。

就业的现实,这个问题已经出现了。中年失业的专业,管理和技术人士,想找回一份同样的薪金的工作,同样性质的工作,已经是不太可能的事,当然,雇主喜欢聘请年轻和外来人才更加重,并造成这个现象。

如果是教育和提升机会,扩招没有问题。

但是,如果教育的目的是教你如何赚钱,如何找钱,如何霸着高位,这当然有问题了。大学毕业生人数增加了,竞争就多了,钱道就少了,钱途就小了,机会也就少了。

我国的强势群体,高官们,成功人士,有好多都是因为有大学教育,才得到今天的地位。他们的出身,有些就好像中国古代的贫苦知识份子,通过科举,才能够得到荣华富贵。为何,一旦上了高位,就忘了本来的出身,不让其他人也有这个机会。

因此,不论是教育国人,提供机会让国人晋升,大学扩招是没有问题的,也应该进行的。这只是一个管道,让一般家庭的孩子也有机会进大学,提升自己。

但是,无论如何,每个大学生都要认清一个现实,未来的大学教育,未必是一个敲门砖,未必是一条钱途。读多一点书是要充实自己,教育自己如何做人,要靠大学文凭赚大钱,还是要先学会做人,懂得人心,才能有前途。

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Wrong headlines to the wrong readers – The dilemma of Chinese language in Singapore



Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew launched his Chinese version of Hard Truths last week. But the headlines of Chinese and English medium are quite different and it serves no benefit to both medium readers by not giving the true picture of Lee’s speech.
Simply put it. Both medium are giving the wrong headlines to the wrong readers. There is no impact and it will not stimulate the learning of Chinese language in Singapore.
Zaobao gives a strong message to Chinese readers who already have the knowledge of Chinese language. Why sells something to a buyer who already has the product and know the importance of owning it?

Lee Kuan Yew: Future regrets if you don’t understand Chinese
李光耀: 不谙华语将来后悔莫及

Regret or no regret depending on who you are
Let see the headlines of the English medium to make a comparison:

Bilingualism crucial for future generations: Mr Lee (Asiaone, 17 Sept)

Bilingualism is possible in Singapore, says Lee Kuan Yew (CNA 16 Sept)

Lee Kuan Yew launches Chinese edition of Hard Truths, turns 88 (ST 17 Sept)


Bilingualism is possible, says Lee Kuan Yew
(Today, 17 Sept)


If you are an English reader, after reading the above headlines, will you be moved to learn the Chinese language? The Asiaone headline may provide the financial incentive to learn Chinese but what is the real reason for wanting to learn Chinese for Chinese Singaporeans?

It is about your root

Former PM Lee did say something on it. However, this is missing in the English medium. Zaobao reported it as follows:

“To survive in Singapore, it will be hard without knowing English.  However, you will regret if you don’t have Mandarin.  It has nothing to do with the emergence of China.  It is because you need to know your root.”   

要在新加坡生存,没有英语会很辛苦,没有华语则一定会后悔莫及。这并不是因为中国崛起,是因为你自己要了解你自己的根。

It is really a tall order. For many Singaporeans, our root is English not Chinese. This is why when the English medium report on the Chinese Hard Truths, they all want to select a headline to comfort their readers.

A strong language or message like the one in Zaobao may not serve the English readers well.  But in such a way who is telling the Hard Truths about the Chinese language in Singapore.  Zaobao, Straits Times, Today, Channelnewsasia all are telling the true stories to their readers or just want to please them by selecting the right angle to report on the Chinese Hard Truths.

Is Zaobao a main stream paper?

Zaobao is a main stream paper but certainly not the main stream of the main stream.  The honor has to go to the Straits Times and/or CNA.

So, the officially main stream position is there is no regret and there is no Chinese root to search for.  

Even though the honorable Lee Kuan Yew used the words of regret and root (in his Chinese speech), the real main stream media can still select headlines and key points that they want to report on. 

They may have a point as Lee did not say it in his English speech and so the official position is no regret no root as the master language in Singapore is English.

This, perhaps, is one of the biggest hard truths in Singapore. The controlled media is telling different readers different hard truths that they should receive from the main stream media. 

Monday, 19 September 2011

内安法的积极和消极 无奈的不得已



无奈的不得已,是积极还是消极。内安法保留至今,是消极做法还是有着积极意义。这真是无奈,又添不得已。

在《庄子》一书中,经常提到无奈和不得已。无奈不得已,就是顺着自然走,一切无为,该发生的事情,就会发生,想要阻也阻不来。因此,道家被认为是被动,消极,和具有不求进步的处事态度。真的是这样吗?

所以,内安法从道家的角度来看,是消极,有也可以,没有也可以,只是,在动用内安法时,如何用的适当,如何能够说服民心,如何说服人们真的有必要用内安法来稳定所谓的国家安全。如果,用的不自然,有目的性的,有企图心的动用内安法,那么,人民看在眼里,不说话,心里怎么想,那就很难说了,说不准,在投票时就会显现出来。

阻吓久了,报酬也递减了

当然,内安法也有积极意义。它可以阻吓不听话的人,不喜欢的人,用莫须有的罪名强加在这些人身上,但是,这种不自然的做法,做久了,效力也差了,一直阻吓,一直动用,久而久之,人民就会认为这是专门用来对付不喜欢的人,反而,产生反效果。

因此,内安法在政治上(不是恐怖主义上)可以说是可有可无。即是积极也是消极,行动党留着它拿来作为政治目的,实在是又是无奈,又是不得已。尤其是在行动党的保守派,仍然没有完全退出我国的政治舞台的时候,这个内安法的情和意,一时之间很难说分手就分手。

行动党的鸡肋

行动党政府,最后一次大规模的动用内安法,应该是1987年,当时对付的对象,已经从50,60 年代主要以华校生为主的对象,转为英校生和天主教教徒。

但是,其效果已经大不如前。就连行动党内部,都有人认为不妥当。

要在今天的新加坡,动用内安法来逮捕“异议份子”,在国内和国外,都很难站住脚。除非,把这些人说成是恐怖份子。但是,这些人,实在是左看右看都不像恐怖分子,而更像是反对党,和持不同意见的人。

这种情形,也发生在纳吉身上。因为,纳吉已经很难说服马来西亚人民,他逮捕的“异议人士”是为害国家的恐怖分子,继续逮捕不同意见的人,不同政见的人,就只能失掉更多选票。因此,他才有这个想法,收回内安法,以其他法令来对付恐怖份子。

行动党再看纳吉的下场

行动党也不是省油的灯,为何要跟着马来西亚的做法,先看看纳吉的下场如何, 再做决定。新马的政治,有时也会互相对照的,今年年初,砂拉越州选举,纳吉胜得有惊无险。接着新加坡的大选和总统选举,行动党的得票下落。纳吉看在心里,不得不做出一些改变,不然,国阵选票再度下滑,纳吉自己连首相宝座也将会失去。

行动党在新加坡两次选举后,将会陆续做出一些改变。纳吉当然要做出更大的改变,因为,他的国阵在国会里没有三分之二的优势。这种情形,处理的不好,江山就会断送掉。行动党的情形就好的多了,难怪,内政部的声明,仍然认为新加坡有必要保留内安法。

不过,不论行动党,还是巫统,党内的保守势力依然是一股不容忽视的力量,马来西亚是否真能废掉内安法,以及其他不合理的法令,保守势力的最终点头,将会有决定性的结果。

何况,我们还有一点搞不清楚,纳吉到底是保守派呢?还是改革派呢?同样的,我们的李显龙总理,到底是保守派呢?还是改革派呢?还是温和派?两位资政在大选后,退出内阁,并不表示行动党内的保守派已经消失,或许,还在死灰复燃呢!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The Visionary Singapore May Not Necessarily Be Led By the PAP


Singapore has entered an era of no great leaders.  In fact, when Goh Chok Tong took over as Prime Minister in the 1990s, Singapore had already begun a new phrase of leadership renewal without strong leaders.

From independence until the 1990s, Singapore experienced strong leadership and teamwork. The first generation PAP leaders have helped to build up an ultimate creation that functions like a self-renewal organization that is called Singapore Inc.  We may not totally agree with how the Singapore Inc is being established.  However, we should thank and give credit to the PAP for creating such a strong and powerful organization. 

Singapore Inc is the ultimate creation

When the Singapore Inc was established, the founding members and leaders of the PAP were idealists and had certain philosophies in mind to a Singapore or a Malaysia.

It is not a purely economic reason.  The first generation leaders had their visions, missions and values in mind and based on these beliefs they built up Singapore Inc.  Just like a visionary company, a pure profit maximization vision will not go too far and last too long.

Half way in my writing, I suddenly realize I don’t quite understanding what Singapore vision or value is. We are quite remote from the Swiss standard of living as promised. And 5C certainly cannot be a vision for most of Singaporeans.

Perhaps, we should go back to history and the 1969 National Pledge can be considered as our vision:

We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and
progress for our nation.

Since 1966, we have achieved some common identities and in a certain way English is also the common language for the locals. 

But how far are we away from the 1969 vision?  The PAP has itself in the past 20, 30 years intentionally moving away from its own created vision. But Singaporeans under the education and training of the Singapore Inc have remained and continued with this spirit and vision. 

And who is right and who is wrong? The PAP, especially the conservative, looking for profit maximization and high economic growth is moving away from the National Pledge or the majority of the Singaporeans.

Singapore Inc is not the PAP
 
However, this Singapore Inc is not belonged to the PAP and it now belongs to all Singaporeans.  The PAP is the creator but no more the owner of Singapore Inc. It belongs to both the PAP and non-PAP supporters. Importantly, it is wrong to continue to assume everything in Singapore Inc is belonged to the PAP.

The PAP, especially their first generation leadership, must have the confidence on their created product: Singapore inc.  And they have to accept that their children of their children may be the leaders of the oppositions.

During GE2011, when PM Lee mentioned about the 4th generation leadership of the PAP, he seemed to forget the existence of Singapore Inc and its potential, under the Singapore National Pledge, to produce future leaders.  

There is a succession plan in our 1966 vision. The ultimate creation of Singapore Inc will create the new leaders of Singapore in its own way but not the PAP way. It will come naturally, but not necessarily from the PAP, for the PAP but for Singaporeans at large.